With its bullish attitude, Tyson is more than chicken. One of the largest US chicken producers, Tyson's Fresh Meats division makes it a giant in the beef and pork sectors, as well. The company also offers value-added processed and pre-cooked meats and refrigerated and frozen prepared foods. Its chicken operations are vertically integrated -- the company hatches the eggs, supplies contract growers with the chicks and feed, and brings them back for processing when ready. The company brands included brands such as Tyson, Jimmy Dean, Hillshire Farm, Sara Lee frozen bakery, Ball Park, Wright, Aidells, and State Fair. Its customers include retail, wholesale, and food service customers worldwide.
The company serves customers in the US and in more than 130 countries worldwide. Tyson's major export markets include Brazil, Canada, Central America, China, the European Union, India, Japan, Mexico, the Middle East, Russia, South Korea, Taiwan, Ukraine, and Vietnam.
Tyson processes 41 million chickens, 391,000 pigs, and 135,000 head of cattle every week at its 57 chicken, 13 beef, 9 pork, and 27 prepared food production plants worldwide.
As part of its operations, the company boasts five business segments: chicken, beef, pork, prepared foods, and international. Tyson's wholly-owned subsidiary Cobb-Vantress Inc. is a top poultry breeding stock supplier globally that leverages research and development to breed desirable characteristics into its flocks. Tyson is known for its chicken, but it also produces beef and pork products. The company's fresh meat operations process beef and pork, offering processed pork products such as sausage, ham, and bacon. Aside from a significant foodservice operation, Tyson's prepared foods unit produces pizza toppings and frozen entrées. Other Tyson activities include rendering meat by-products and tortilla and pizza-crust manufacturing. The International segment includes its foreign operations primarily related to raising and processing live chickens into fresh, frozen and value-added chicken products in Brazil, China, India and Mexico. While its chicken operations reach from egg to drumstick, Tyson raises no cattle of its own. It buys live cattle on the open market and they're raised under contract at third-party feed lots. The majority of Tyson's swine are bought from producers; however, it does raise some swine and supplies the resultant feeder pigs to independent producers on a contract basis. Altogether, Tyson operates more than 400 facilities and offices in the US and worldwide.
Beef accounted for 40% of the company's fiscal 2014 revenues, followed by chicken (28%), pork (16%), prepared food (10%), and international (4%).
Sales and Marketing
Wal-Mart accounted for nearly 15% of Tyson's sales for fiscal 2014. Advertising and promotion expenses for fiscal 2014, 2013, and 2012 were $641 million, $555 million and $496 million, respectively.
Tyson has reported steady revenue growth since fiscal 2009. Revenues increased by 9% in 2014 thanks to higher prices across all its segments, sales volume increases (as a result of improved demand) in its Prepared Foods products segment and incremental volume increases as a result of the acquisition of Hillshire Brands in 2014.
Net income increased by 11% in 2014 primarily due to higher revenues and a decline in interest and income tax expenses.
The company's operating cash flow decreased by 10% in 2014 due to the increase in inventory and accounts receivable balances and a decline in income taxes payable, partially offset by the increase in accounts payable. The higher inventory, accounts receivable and accounts payable balances were attributable to significant increases in input costs and related price increases.
Tyson has been getting into new markets in recent years to add breadth to its products portfolio. Taking advantage of this affinity for animals, the company introduced True Chews, a line of beef, chicken, and ham-flavored dog treats. Banking on a billion-dollar pet treat market, Tyson rolled out the products, sourcing ingredients used in True Chews from the company's meat and poultry operations.
Tyson has devoted more dollars to research and development efforts in recent years. Research and development costs totaled 52 million, $50 million, and $43 million in fiscal 2014, 2013 and 2012, respectively.
For another venture outside its usual food chain, the company had moved (in 2007) into biofuels. It began supplying the animal fats and greases from its meat production operations to Dynamic Fuels, its Louisiana-based 50:50 joint venture with Syntroleum that produces renewable fuels from the by-products. However, in 2014, Tyson changed course, selling its 50% stake in Dynamic Fuels to Renewable Energy Group for $30 million.
In a further streamlining, in 2014 the company announced plans to sell its Brazil and Mexico operations, to JBS SA for $575 million. In 2013 the company sold its China-based Weifang chicken operation. That year it also announced plans to discontinue prepared foods operations at three facilities -- Cherokee, Iowa, Buffalo, New York, and Santa Teresa, New Mexico.
Mergers and Acquisitions
In 2014 Tyson acquired Hillshire Brands alongside fellow poultry producer Pilgrim's Pride in a $7.75 billion deal. Hillshire, at the time, was attempting to acquire Pinnacle Foods, but since scrapped those plans.
Growing its US prepared foods business, that year Tyson acquired Warren, Michigan-based Bosco's Pizza Co., which produces a variety of stuffed bread sticks and frozen pizzas for food service and retail customers across the Midwest.
In 2013 Tyson focused on boosting its value-added foods business. Midyear, the company's Tyson Mexican Original subsidiary acquired the assets of Don Julio Foods of Clearfield, Utah. Don Julio Foods specializes in making flour and corn tortillas and salty snacks such as tortilla chips, pretzels, and potato chips. The company also purchased the assets of California's Circle Foods, maker of frozen and refrigerated handheld Mexican foods, uncooked tortillas, and increasingly popular Indian flatbreads.
Tyson Foods is controlled by Tyson Limited Partnership (TLP), a small group of Tyson family relatives, retired Tyson Foods executives, and friends of the late Don Tyson.